After heavy criticism, Blizzard has at least partially addressed complaints on their phone number requirements for Overwatch 2. In a forum post, they said, “any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play.” The wording seems to imply this will only apply to existing users who have played recently. These changes are expected to go into effect on Oct. 7.
Currently, linking a phone number to your Blizzard account is necessary to play Overwatch 2. On top of this, only certain types of phone numbers are accepted, as they can’t be from a prepaid phone plan, landline, or VOIP services like Google Voice. These restrictions mean those with mobile providers like Cricket Wireless or Mint Mobile, which are technically classified as prepaid plans, have been unable to access the game.
These requirements have been rightly criticized for cutting off access to a huge number of players, many of whom may use prepaid plans or VOIP to get around costly mobile bills. Additionally, those who bought and potentially spent money on items in Overwatch 1, which is no longer available because its sequel replaced it outright, could be barred from the new game because of these restrictions. Although Blizzard intended this change to limit cheaters and other bad behavior, many found their solution frustrating and overly restrictive.
Beyond the changes with SMS verification, the forum post also promised that other launch issues have been addressed but that queue times will likely remain long. The first few days of Overwatch 2 have been plagued with login issues, long queue times, and disconnection problems, in part due to DDoS attacks.